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This has included funding £125,000 over three years (March 2006 to September 2008) to pilot a civil society co-ordinator with the UN Global Compact. The FCO also funds an annual Chevening Fellowship course for 12 professionals from around the world to study CSR at the university of Nottingham.
Norman Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what report he has received on the negotiating stance adopted by the Chinese government in their talks with representatives of the Dalai Lama. 
Meg Munn: We and EU partners have welcomed the visits to China by the Dalai Lamas representatives, including the last visit, between 29 June and 6 July 2007. We have pressed the Chinese repeatedly to continue these contacts and enter a substantive dialogue without pre-conditions. We have made clear our view that negotiations should work towards a long term solution acceptable to both sides.
Ms Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the Answer of 19 February 2008, Official Report, columns 149-50W, on Colombia, what reports the Minister of State has received which informed his Answer that the people who are murdering the most trade unionists in Colombia are not the Colombian government but FARC. 
Dr. Howells: It is illegal armed groups including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia that are committing the majority of human rights abuses in Colombia, including intimidation and murder of trade unionists. However, the Colombian armed forces are also guilty of committing abuses, which is why we are helping the Colombian Government develop the processes to root out these abuses.
The latest report of the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the situation of human rights in Colombia (UN General Assembly document A/HRC/4/48); Annex II paragraphs 1-2 states that:
In 2006, the OHCHR Office recorded an increase in threats against human rights defenders, including trade union members...groups that also continue to be victims of murder, arbitrary or illegal arrest and violations of due process... The acts of violence against human rights defenders have limited their ability to organize and to report violations in some regions of the country. Such acts are attributed to members of new illegal armed groups, paramilitaries and guerrillas. In other cases, members of the security forces and judicial employees have been accused of responsibility for these actions.
We agree that the situation faced by trade unionists in Colombia is difficult. The number of trade unionists threatened and killed is too high. This is why, working with the Trade Unions Congress, we have invited a delegation of Colombian trade unionists to the UK in March, to hear from them first hand and to explore how the UK can offer its support.
|FCO band||Civil service equivalent||Minimum salary (£)||Maximum salary (£)|
For staff in the senior management structure (SMS), equivalent to the senior civil service (SCS), the FCO operates reward arrangements within a framework managed by the Cabinet Office. The Government set salary ranges for these pay bands centrally for all Whitehall Departments in response to recommendations from the Senior Salaries Review Board. The ranges are currently:
|FCO pay band||Civil service pay band||Minimum (£)||Ceiling (£)|
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the government of Equatorial Guinea on consular access to Simon Mann. 
Meg Munn: The Equatorial Guinea ambassador assured my noble Friend the Minster for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, on 7 February 2008 that consular access to Mr. Mann would be granted. Our consul from the deputy high commission in Lagos was subsequently able to visit Mr. Mann on 12 February 2008.
Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assurances he has received from the government of Equatorial Guinea that Simon Mann will be treated in accordance with international standards of human rights while imprisoned in that country. 
The Equatorial Guinea ambassador has assured my noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, and
Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials on a number of occasions that Mr. Mann would receive a fair trial and be treated well while in custody.
Mr. Hoyle: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Ministry of Defence on protecting the territorial waters in the Falklands. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 29 February 2008]: The Falkland Islands Government (FIG) has sole responsibility for protecting the fisheries around the Falkland Islands from unauthorised fishing. To achieve this task the FIG deploys a chartered fisheries protection vessel, two maritime surveillance aircraft and a satellite-based vessel monitoring system. Additionally, fisheries observers are deployed on the commercial fleet. Their primary role is the collection of scientific data, but they also monitor compliance with regulations.
Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the situation in Gaza; and what representations he has made to the Israeli government on the delivery of humanitarian aid and the supply of power in Gaza. 
Dr. Howells: The UK is concerned about the latest violence in the Gaza strip and the growing impact of Israeli restrictions which have resulted in power cuts and threaten to undermine vital infrastructure such as hospitals, water and sewage systems. The UN reports that the Gaza power plant is only able to produce 55 megawatts of the 240 megawatts required daily in the Gaza strip. For example, the water authority in the strip is unable to adequately pump and distribute water (cuts in the Gaza City are varying between four to eight hours daily).
My right hon. Friends the Foreign Secretary and Secretary of State for International Development have issued joint statements on the situation in Gaza and Sderot on 11 January, 21 January and more recently on 8 February. My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Livni on this issue on 24 January and I spoke to the Israeli ambassador in London on 29 January. Our embassy in Tel Aviv regularly raises this matter with the Israeli government and most recently our ambassador in Tel Aviv raised the issue with Defence Minister Barak on 25 February.
The UK and its partners will continue to pursue with Israel the reopening of all crossings to facilitate movement for all Palestinians. We deplore the fact that innocent civilians on both sides are suffering. Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live in peace and security.
Dr. Iddon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 February 2008, Official Report, columns 471-2W, on Hamas, what fundamental conditions the Quartet has set Israel for a viable peace. 
Dr. Howells: The Roadmap sets out the steps the Palestinian Authority and Israel need to implement to achieve a negotiated settlement. Both sides have accepted the Roadmap. At the Annapolis Conference of 22 November 2007, Prime Minister Olmert renewed his commitment to Israels Roadmap obligations. Among others these obligations require that the Government of Israel freeze all settlement building, dismantle all settlement outposts and take measures to improve the humanitarian situation for Palestinians. The Quartet and the UK firmly believe that the Roadmap is the best route to achieving peace in the Middle East.
Mr. Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) how much his Department has spent on (a) legal and (b) other costs in connection with the case of al-Rawi and others vs the Secretary of State; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) what the cost to the public purse has been of (a) the defence and (b) the prosecution in the case of al-Rawi and others vs the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells: The legal costs in connection with the case of Al Rawi and others v. the Secretary of State for the Home Department and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs were borne jointly by the Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). Including fees for counsel and the Treasury Solicitors Department, these costs came to just under £395,000 including value added tax. The FCO does not have any information about the claimants legal costs, which were met by the Legal Services Commission.
My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary set out our concerns on the situation in Darfur, and the need for an immediate end to the fighting in West Darfur, in a joint statement with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development on 27 February. He has discussed the situation in Darfur with several governments, most recently this week in
Beijing at meetings with the Premier and Foreign Minister of China. My noble Friend the Minister for Africa, Asia and the UN, the right hon. Lord Malloch-Brown, has been in regular contact with the Government of Sudan on this issue, including during his visit there and the African Union summit, 28 January-1 February. Our ambassador in Khartoum has been instructed to pursue the matter further with the Government of Sudan.
Andrew Mackinlay: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the proposed arrangements are for the administration and promotion of UK trade and investment at the UK Embassy to the Republic of Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
The UK Trade and Investment Section in Dublin will be restructured and will continue to deliver services to UK companies seeking to trade with the Republic of Ireland and to Irish companies wishing to invest in the UK.
Mr. MacDougall: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his Departments latest assessment is of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe; and if he will make a statement. 
Dr. Howells [holding answer 29 February 2008]: The human rights situation in Zimbabwe continues to cause us grave concern. The Government of Zimbabwe shows no respect for basic human rights such as freedom of expression, assembly and association. Human rights violations perpetrated by state agents including assault, torture and arbitrary arrest continue. Our embassy officials in Harare continue to monitor the human rights situation closely, particularly with regard to infringements related to the forthcoming elections. They will continue to meet regularly with key partners, including local and international non-governmental organisations, to consider how best human rights can be defended.
Dr. Howells [holding answer 29 February 2008]: Zimbabwe continues to suffer from an economic, humanitarian and political crisis, for which President Mugabe is directly responsible. Although an election has been declared for 29 March, it seems almost impossible for it to be held in anything like free and fair conditions. We are pressing for effective international monitoring and for states in the region to require the election to meet international standards, including those adopted by the Southern African Development Community itself.
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